Will Smith opens up to Trevor Noah about the Oscars slap
Actor Will Smith sat down for his first late-night interview after the Oscars slap incident in March. On Monday night, Will Smith told host Trevor Noah that he “had to humble down” in months following the incident.
It was an incident that shocked the entertainment industry and ruined his image as the Golden Boy. In recent months, the Oscar-winning actor has been silent since he climbed that stage on the night of the 94th Academy Awards.
That night, the whole world witnessed how Smith slapped Chris Rock. The comedian joked about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who has her head fully shaved. She was struggling with hair loss or alopecia. Smith marched up to the stage and slapped Rock on the face.
TONIGHT: Will Smith is here! pic.twitter.com/HFsF5AyPIa
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) November 29, 2022
Smith returned to his seat and shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth.” His violent reaction became the highlight of the Oscars night. But that night was also his night when he won his first “Best Actor” award for his role as Richard Williams. In the movie “King Richard,” he played the part of the father of tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams.
In his interview with Trevor Noah, he said he understands “how shocking that was for people.” Smith added, “There’s many nuances and complexities to it,” Smith said, “but at the end of the day, I just — I lost it.”
He also told the TV show host, “I was going through something that night. Not that that justifies my behavior at all.” But the actor never revealed his issues that night. Smith apologized publicly days after the incident.
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) November 28, 2022
Noah also noted what Smith wrote in his memoir. He mentioned growing up with a fear of conflict. The talk show host also pointed out the negative comments on the internet. Smith responded, “It was a lot of things. It was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother, you know. All of that just bubbled up at that moment.”
In April, he announced that he had resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He apologized in this announcement, “The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home.”
In return, the Academy referred to Smith’s behavior as “unacceptable and harmful.” The prestigious organization banned him from attending their events for the next ten years.
Will Smith knows people might be a little slow on receiving him on screen after slapping Chris Rock pic.twitter.com/99tMJ5QPWi
— No Jumper (@nojumper) November 28, 2022
While he opens up about what happened at the Oscars, he is also on the show to promote his latest film, “Emancipation.” It will hit the theaters on Friday and Apple TV+ on Dec.9. His role is an enslaved person facing his battles to escape Louisiana after Abraham Lincoln approved the Emancipation Proclamation.
The first half of the interview with Trevor Noah focused on discussing this new film. Smith said he is hopeful that audiences would still watch despite their disapproval of his actions. He hopes viewers will consider the story’s significance and the hard work the production team has put in.
Smith said, “I just hope that their work will be honored and their work will not be tainted based on a horrific decision on my part.” He added that if “someone is not ready [to watch the film], I would absolutely respect that.”
The full interview was partly emotional. But the audience seemed responsive to Smith’s remorse as they clapped and cheered him. Noah commented with sympathy that it was “not who you are.”